The world heritage sites are places that have more than just a cultural or tourism value. The sites, which boast of being for an outstanding value to the entire world, are provided special privileges. For example, the world heritage sites in Maharashtra are provided security and privilege by UNESCO.
These sites also have additional privileges provided by the local government. Moreover, for all their cultural and historical significance, they are often subjected to touch-ups and renovation. Through selective methods, these sits are available for visiting by the local and foreign tourists too.
In addition to the historic and cultural importance, the places can also be scientifically or educationally relevant. The intention of UNESCO is to act as the safeguarding and protecting body for all such places and heritages.
Each government underwent to sign the treaty in 1972 and have since provided the authority of these sites. The cultural heritage, also known as the heritage sites are handed by these governments for protection and conservation in the list of UNESCO.
UNESCO world heritage site
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UNESCO world heritage
Set up under the United Nations, the UNESCO world heritage sites program is responsible for a lot of tasks. Most of these include intricate duties such as:
- Upkeep and protection of the culturally important sites
- Protection and prevention of the historically significant sites
- Taking care of the life and security of the world heritage sites
However, beyond their usual duty, the UNESCO also provides a list of aids to the government for the maintenance. In addition to the funds, the promotion and the attraction enhancement of these are also done by the UNESCO. Hence, the list of the sites under the UNESCO world heritage list always gets updated.
In order to qualify for the list, the site must also have a rich significance in terms of location and history. The separate list for the World Heritage Program that comes under the UNESCO is responsible for the selection and upkeep of the list. As per the current situation, there are almost 193 parties that are a part of the ratification. Hence, it is one of the most widely recognized treaties to fall under any UN convention.
World heritage sites
For the nomination of any given site to qualify as the world heritage sites, there isa list of guidelines that need to be followed. The nomination process would require:
- Selection of the site by the local and the national government for classification.
- A further listing of the site under a tentative list that would go further to the UNESCO body.
- Evaluation of the list by the authority for further scrutiny depending upon the site’s significance and value.
Once the site is nominated and scrutinized, there are almost 10 guidelines that the site needs to follow to be able to classify as the heritage site. Some of the criteria of the list are:
- If the tentative world heritage site is culturally significant.
- If the site bears a relationship with the educational value.
- The site can also be an example of a particular culture’s existence and history.
- A site that can possibly be a paramount example of the archeological or architectural display.
- Any particular culture or tradition that is entangled with the historic existence of the world heritage site.
Overall, it is Europe and North America that take a major share of the total number of world heritage sites. The total share for Europe and North America combined is roughly around 47%. The Asian and Pacific region is the second when it comes to the share of the sites, with a share of more than 23%.
The main reasons for the protection and the service provided to these sites are:
- If there is any site that can be attacked or captured during warfare, it deserves protection. A world heritage site is supposed to be beyond the normal limits of warfare and human greed.
- Any cultural or religion-based attack or activity carried out shall not disturb these sites.
- Some of the ancient or educationally important sites such as libraries etc. host cultural and educational depth. Hence, to prevent the historical accuracies and evolution, the protection is necessary.
- As a result of Global distortion through weather and human intervention, many places are disturbed. Meanwhile, human intervention for the positive side can hence nullify and protect these world heritage sites from damage.
UNESCO world heritage sites 2019
As a result of the annual meeting of the UNESCO committee for the purpose of revaluation, new sites are considered. For example, the meeting and edits in 2019 led to the inclusion of as many as 29 sites on the list.
The UNESCO world heritage sites 2019 list did not see any new world heritage sites in Maharashtra being named. However, it included one from India as Jaipur was named as a world heritage site. Some of the other common names that were included in the list for 2019 were:
- Archeological Ruins of Liangzhu city (China)
- Babylon (Iraq)
- Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture (Russia)
- Jodrell Bank Observatory (United Kingdom)
- Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene (Italy)
- Risco Caido and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape (Spain)
From the total list of the 29 selected sites, as many as 24 sites were selected for the cultural significance reasons. Hence, it shows the willingness of UNESCO and the UN as a whole to protect and conserve the cultural existence and diversity of the world.
Due to the dynamic nature and the volatility of the listing process, it is often difficult to know the exact status. Hence, a proper idea of the enrolled and listed sites and their situation can be gauged through the official website.
The selection for UNESCO world heritage sites 2019 also laid the right amount of emphasis on the developing nations. This step is taken to prevent the cultural sovereignty and integrity of the sites and the countries too.
The World Heritage sites in India
India is more than a regular country or a normal nation to deal with. Housing the richest source of cultural, religion, educational, and ethical diversity is the Indian essence. Moreover, the geographical area, population boom historical significance, and other facts are equally important too.
Throughout its history, India has been a subject of bewilderment. A house to various dynasties such as the Marathas, Rajput, the Ashokas, the Guptas, the Mughals, etc, India is a land of the old ages. Hence, there are always a plethora of options available when it comes to preservation and security on a grand basis.
A lot of archeological, cultural, and historical sights of high significance are broadly spread. Over the period, there are as many as 38 world heritage sites in India that are accumulated and preserved. The 38 sites are scattered across the national geography of the country through its length and breadth.
It is a common notion to think that the size of a state might dictate the number of UNESCO world heritage sites in the state. However, the contrary is true as it completely depends upon the nature of history and the significance of geography.
Over the period of time, the neighboring countries too have chipped in to support India in demanding heritage status for more of its sites. This means there are other sites waiting as well for being added. Hence, a list for the world heritage sites in India would shortly contain some surprise entries.
A name wise list for all the world heritage sites in India according to their relevant states would include:
|Name of the World Heritage Site||State of Belonging|
|Agra Fort||Uttar Pradesh|
|Taj Mahal||Uttar Pradesh|
|Sun Temple, Konark||Orrisa|
|Group of Monument at Mahabalipuram||Tamil Nadu|
|Kaziranga National Park||Assam|
|Manas Wildlife Sanctuary||Assam|
|Keoladeo National Park||Rajasthan|
|Churches and Convents of Goa||Goa|
|Group of monuments at Hampi||Karnataka|
|Fattehpur Sikri||Uttar Pradesh|
|Group of monuments at Pattadakal||Karnataka|
|Great Living Chola Temples||Tamil Nadu|
|Sundarbans National Park||West Bengal|
|Nandadevi and Valley of Flowers National Park||Uttarakhand|
|Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi||Madhya Pradesh|
|Qutub Minar and its monuments||Delhi|
|Mountain Railways of India||Tamil Nadu|
|Mahabodhi Temple and Complex||Bihar|
|Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka||Madhya Pradesh|
|Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus||Maharashtra|
|Champaner Pavagadh Archeological Park||Gujarat|
|Red Fort Complex||Delhi|
|The Jantar Mantar||Rajasthan|
|Western Ghats||Western Ghats|
|Hill Fort of Rajasthan||Rajasthan|
|Rani ki vav||Gujarat|
|Great Himalayan National Park||Himachal Pradesh|
|Archeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara||Bihar|
|Khangchendzonga National Park||Sikkim|
|The architectural work of Leh Corbusier||Chandigarh|
|The historic city of Ahmedabad||Gujarat|
|The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble||Maharashtra|
Among the list, it is clear that the world heritage sites in Maharashtra are the maximum in number. As many as 4 sites and 1 shared site that is of the world heritage status in the state. Meanwhile, Rajasthan is not far behind with 4 world heritage sites in India to its name.
UNESCO world heritage sites in India 2019
Through the annual meet of the selection and scrutinizing committee for the revival of status, new heritage sites are added. The UNESCO world heritage sites in India 2019 consist of the main 38 entries and the tentative ones. Prior to the review, a total of 42 entries in the list of pending sites existed.
However, with the review, another additional entry was made for the consideration of the permanent status. The Orchha site in Madhya Pradesh has been added freshly to the tentative list of the world heritage sites in India. Upon further review, additional data would be collected by the authorities.
Orchha (Madhya Pradesh)
Within the state of Madhya Pradesh is a small district by the name of Niwari. This Niwari is the place where the Orchha resides. During the 1500s, it was the vision of Rudra Pratap Singh that led to the foundation of the Orchha.
He was also the first king of Orchha and this construction happened during the time when the entire of India was mostly under Akbar’s rule. The central fort, also known as the Raja Mahal, is connected through the inside tunnels and corridors. The place has a special dome-like appearance when seen from distance.
The integral structure is one of the newest to contend for the status of the world heritage sites in India. Another famous attraction in the place is also the Uth Khana which was used to rest the Camels during the King’s reign. The place had a population of less than 10,000 as per the last demographical survey.
While the place remains open throughout the day, the early morning and the late sunsets are preferred by the tourists. The multiple domes make for a sight to behold for the tourists too. The commute to the place is easy and is provided mostly through the local TukTuks or the private cab providers.
Top 10 world heritage sites in India
Given the fact that there are 38 world heritage sites in India, the decision for top-10 is difficult. For example, the world heritage sites in Maharashtra alone have 5 sites which are each significant. However, if it was to decide the top 10, public liking, location, significance, etc. factors are important.
The most important part is to understand the widespread of the geography and the emotions attached. The UNESCO also has probable applications for new entrances pending. Some of the most common UNESCO world heritage sites India also have a large amount of tourist attraction.
The most prominent names that pop up when discussing the list would be:
Built under the vision of Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal is one of the most significant historical monuments. Standing as the leader of the world heritage sites in India, the place can be the least of surprises. The location is in Agra which boasts as the tourism hub of Uttar Pradesh.
In addition to the visitors, there are a lot of other commercial activities that take place. Due to the cultural, religious, and geographical factors, the status of the world heritage is duly justified too.
Set up in the heart of Delhi, Qutub Minar is one of the iconic travel attractions in the entire country. Built-in the memory of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, the minor had several reconstructions during the rule. Established in the early 1900s, the place is memorabilia of victory and supremacy.
The place has been kept open for enthusiastic visitors and the passing population. However, due to the passing time, constructional tasks have surfaced during the period. These are taken by the fund raised through the UNESCO world heritage sites foundation. For protection and upkeep.
The Konark Temple, also easily recalled as the Sun Temple is the heart and soul of Odisha. Set up across the coastline, the place sees a major number of footfalls all across the year. Moreover, the place has a divine appeal and a deep religious affinity for the majority population of the country.
Among all the world heritage sites in India, the place is one of the most deeply rooted in cultural grounds. The place has a long history of listing under the UNESCO list. The sculptures, chariots, and the other monuments of the place are deeply engraved in historical and cultural relevance.
Monuments of Khajuraho
Through the Khajuraho monuments, the state of Madhya Pradesh receives its long-running dues. Chhatarpur area has the due reward of hosting this place and its scenic beauty. Khajuraho has a long history of being a host to the Hindu and Jain culture and the traditions related to these too.
Among all the world heritage sites in India, Khajuraho has one of the highest numbers of sculptures. The place has a due number of guides and tour facilities involved. Meanwhile, appropriate efforts are put in through UNESCO and local bodies for conservation and upkeep.
Mahabodhi temple, also fondly regarded as the Body Gaya temple, is a big Buddhism attraction. For all the value inculcated and the significance beard to the religion, the site is a cultural UNESCO world heritage site entry. On an annual basis, the place holds millions of pilgrims and tourists across all religions.
The local government is also dedicatedly involved in the upkeep of the place to the best of their ability. The place has also been identified as a symbol of peace and unity among the country, the true spirit of Buddhism.
Kaziranga National Park
Assam is always a place that comes to mind in terms of nature conservation and preserves. Hence, there is no surprise to see Kaziranga National park as one of the entries in the UNESCO world heritage sites India list. The declaration of UNESCO for this is to preserve the natural relevance and existence of the place.
The place also has a lot of small significant points that not many people are aware of. For example, about two-thirds of the world’s entire number of one-horned rhinos are found in the Kaziranga National Park.
The Chola temple has its existence running deep in the state of Tamil Nadu. The ancestors during the high rule of the Chola Empire were the ones who built the place as a memory of the kingdom’s supremacy.
Throughout the cultural existence of India, the Chola temple bears a large significance in the artistic values. The divine culture and the spread of the artistic message is a pioneering form of cultural conveyance.
The Agra fort is one of the most iconic places that serve as a reminder of the Mughal rule in India. Among all the world heritage sites in India, the Agra fort is one of the most humongous and large spread ones.
The fort was constructed to be the controlling region for all the major Mughal kings that ruled the country. Agra being the center of all the Mughal power, beard a lot of significance in shaping the map of India for the foreseeable future.
The Mughal kingdom exercised their existential powers through the very corridors of the Agra fort. To preserve the historical significance, the site makes it to the UNESCO world heritage sites 2019 list.
Jaipur is the new entrance that made its way to history through the UNESCO world heritage sites 2019 list. Often regarded as the Pink City, the place has been a huge flag bearer for the entire Rajput Kingdom and their rule through the struggles against the dominance of the invading Mughals.
Jaipur also hosts one of the most significant spots in the cultural and tourism significance of India as a whole. Hence, the idea to protect the site against any mishaps and safeguard the culture and beauty is extremely essential.
The resemblance and the significance of the name in itself is the city of victory. Fatehpur Sikri is another indent left on the Indian existence by the widespread of the Mughal Empire during the mid-historical reign.
One of the most significant entries into the world heritage sites in India 2019, the place is a tourism magnet. Moreover, the local and the central government are highly dedicated to the upkeep and the prosperity of the place. To preserve the cultural value, UNESCO took it under its wing too.
World heritage sites in Maharashtra
Maharashtra is one of the most dominant states when it comes to the present Indian economic and supply structure. Cities like Pune, Maharashtra, Nagpur, etc. constitute the most stable and well-developed names. However, it is the lesser-known ones that often steal the attention for the right cause.
For example, sites like Nasik, Aurangabad, Shirdi, etc. are the ones that also make Maharashtra tourism hub. The world heritage sites in Maharashtra feature across its geography and give the place an unassailable status. Moreover, these sites also give the due reckoning to the historical existence.
The cultural significance of these sites is also extremely high to feature in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in India. Through dedicated upkeep and understanding, the local government as well as the UNESCO authorities make survival and revival easily possible.
Throughout the time, there are a total of 4 sites and 1 shared site added to the list of world heritage sites in Maharashtra. However, the number can go significantly up when the later reviews occur by the UNESCO authorities on an annual basis.
Situated in Aurangabad, Ellora caves is one of the most prestigious entries in the list of world heritage sites in Maharashtra. The monastery-temple is one of the biggest clusters of the rock-cut arts and made in the form of clusters. The place is an amalgamation of both artistic and religious work.
As a combination of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainism intervened, the place has a large cultural history too. Among the 100 caves that are situated here, the maximum chunk (34+) is dedicated to the Jain culture and sculptures. A little less number of these are inscribed with the Hindu devoted sculptures.
The existential aim of the construction was also to signify the timeless religious harmony of a country like India. The caves are a decent 300 kilometers away from the city of Mumbai, but only a small distance of 29 kilometers from Aurangabad.
Due to the underlying importance and the need to prevent, the site has been added to the UNESCO world heritage sites list. The right combination of local as well as international efforts has contributed immensely to the upkeep and care of the Ellora caves.
Provided with the world heritage status in the year of 1983, the Ajanta Caves are the neighboring famous entities of Ellora. Situated in Aurangabad just like the former one, the Ajanta Caves are a huge symbol of religious and cultural significance.
More than 30 monuments and numerous inscriptions for Buddhism exist at the Ajanta caves. It was due to the enormity of this fact that the primary consideration for the world heritage status was given. The site is also one of the most gigantic entries in the list of world heritage sites in Maharashtra.
The largely spread 75 meters high wall of rock has the engravings of the long-running Buddhist traditions. Curtain walls also have a range of vivid colors, showing that these were significant during ancient India too. The actual location of the caves is in the region marked by the name of the Deccan plateau.
The total area of widespread of over 8200 hectares shows the enormity of the place. It has also been one of the most significant parts of India in terms of tourist footfalls. Along with Ellora, the place has provided locals a lifeline of decent income and respectable living through tourism.
The style of art and architecture that has been utilized in Ajanta is also evident in sites like Elephanta. Ironically, these sites are hundreds of kilometers apart but still reflect the same sense of serenity and calm.
Another historic place that highlights the peace and ideology reflected by Buddhism, Elephanta caves is a sight to behold. Standing around 15 kilometers away from the coast, the place is a remarkable combination of architecture and art.
The Elephanta caves are hardly any distance from the JNPT terminal and hence one of the most famous tourist attractions near the coast of Mumbai. 1987 was the year that proved to be fruitful for the positive inclusion of the Elephanta caves in the list on UNESCO world heritage sites.
Sharing artistic background with the other entries in the list of world heritage sites in Maharashtra, Elephanta is a major tourist hub. The place has acted as the life-saver for those who rely on it for livelihood. From the local ferry rides to the souvenir shops, the place is a boon and a breadwinner.
A lot of restoration activities have happened at the Elephanta caves. In the early 1900s, the British tried to restore the place significantly. Post the 1970s, the Indian government sorted the status and restored various cultural engravings and monuments.
To sort the status quo and help the place to be preserved, the UNESCO extended a helping hand. The locals too are knowledgeable and aware of the upkeep of the place and do it with the utmost sincerity.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Standing tall as the very essence and lifeline of the Mumbai city, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is the home for Mumbaikars. The existential status of the entire state, CST houses architectural marvel right at its heart.
It is one of the rate entries in the list of world heritage sites in Maharashtra that is highly active. Every day, millions of footfalls visit the place in the search of their livelihood and the search for peace. The place has seen its fair share of controversies and mishaps too.
From recovering through the bomb blasts to the terror attacks, the terminus has seen all. However, what did not break is the spirit of the locals to live and to believe. The British era architecture and the humongous size of the place is a thing to behold.
To preserve the place and the architecture from falling apart, numerous reconstruction jobs have been done. Moreover, the government has expressed its desire to main the status of the place through every possible step to keep it as a symbol of progress.
Being one of the busiest places in entire India, the site of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is also a breadwinner for locals. Thousands of natives rest their livelihood in small or big was onto this place with hopes of coming out with a safer and brighter future.
The whole construction can be darted back to the significant part of the 1900s with renovation every now and then. However, the inclusion of the site in the list of the UNESCO world heritage sites is not too old. The addition took place in the review meeting of 2004.
Unlike the previous four entries in the list of the world heritage sites in Maharashtra, the Western Ghats share a unique status. Extending over a region of 1, 40,000 kilometers, the range runs through the major Indian states seamlessly.
The Ghats extend through Tamil Nadu and also Kerala. The whole range goes through Maharashtra and also Goa. An area of 1, 60,000 square kilometers is covered under the green stretch that gives it the natural significance of paramount importance.
Among all the UNESCO world heritage sites 2019, the Western Ghats have the unique distinction of the shared status. While the total elevation is over 8,000 feet, the significant hold of the place on flora and fauna is paramount.
In addition to this, almost 140 different species of mammals are said to reside in the greenery. More than 500 different species of birds, including the endangered ones, also reside there. It is astonishing that of all the endangered species in the world, 325 in total are found living in the Ghats.
It is due to these natural and geographically significant reasons that the place was inducted as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2012. The Western Ghats are also a huge reserve of naturally occurring minerals such as limestone, bauxite, etc.
Forts of Maratha to be World Heritage
Dr. Jain and Dr. Hooja have recently covered a widespread knowledge of the Maratha culture and significance. To date, the Forts of Maratha do not find a place in the UNESCO world heritage site 2020 listings. However, the same can change after the very next meet of the advisory body with the council.
The efforts by the duo have taken shape in the form of a book that details every small and big fact of the Maratha Empire. Moreover, due to the resounding effects of the empire for freeing India from the evil clutches, the place is much deserved too.
In the previous editions, it is the Rajasthan forts that have got their much-awaited dues to find the list. Meanwhile, the list of world heritage sites in Maharashtra would grow further if the addition happens. Maharashtra has 4 entries in the list already and has a shared entry in the form of the Western Ghats.
Due to the declining condition and the significance of the place combined, the decision to include it is not much of a surprise. The place operated as the center of all the power and focus during the rule of the Maratha Empire. Various forts saw the rule of warriors lie Shivaji Maharaj.
It was due to the very existence of these men that India got its due freedom from the reign of the torturous Mughal dictators. Hence, the advocacy of the inclusion of these places in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites should not come as a surprise. However, the decision for the final call is still being awaited.
Q. How many total numbers of places are included in the list of world heritage sites in India presently?
A. In the present time, there are as many as 38 sites that are a permanent part of the list of world heritage sites in India. However, the list is a dynamic one and can change at every meeting of the council.
Q. How many total numbers of sites are included in the list of the world heritage sites in Maharashtra presently?
A. There are as many as 4 sites that are included in the list for world heritage sites in Maharashtra. There is also one shared world heritage site for Maharashtra in the form of the Western Ghats.
Q. How are the places nominated and selected to be the contender for the World heritage sites?
A. The selection process takes place firstly at the national level through contention and subsequent nomination. After that, the list is sent for the reviewing committee at the UNESCO to ascertain the status.
Q. Can the forts of Maharashtra be included the list for the world heritage sites in India in the near future?
A. Yes, the contention for the status for the forts is already under process. The literature and the other details that need to be placed have already been assembled and ready for the due course of action.
Q. Why are sites selected to be named as the world heritage and what criteria does it involve?
A. Each site has a different category to deal with, such as religious, historical, cultural, etc. The site must have a high significance and must also be endangered or suffering to be the beneficiary of the backing.
Q. Who decides the final vote if the site has to be included in the list of the UNESCO world heritage sites?
A. The final decision is taken by the reviewing committee and the council at the UNESCO for the given task. No other external interference shall play any significant role in the due process of selection.
The geography and religious diversity of India has always been an aiding factor for its contention for World heritage sites. Moreover, the religious variation and the perfect amalgamation of beliefs also play an important role in the same.
Due to the varied ruling phases and the multiple dimensions, the country and the region benefitted for art and culture. In the foreseeable future, not only the world heritage sites in Maharashtra but the entire country are definite to increase. The annual reviews through the advisory committee are important.
The explanation of the importance and the necessity for the tag of the world heritage site should be justified and confirmed. For example, the place should bear the right significance and have trouble dealing with too. In addition to this, the willingness of the local bodies is also a major factor.
Hence, the government has taken adequate steps to extend its due course of action to help and support the cause. The funding and the renovation tasks are equally divided and the places are taken care of. When it comes to nature conservation, the flora and fauna are given their due importance too.
However, none of these is actually possible if the locals and the visitors are not an integral part. The annual revision meetings have selected a plethora of prospective candidates to choose from. In the foreseeable future, the figure of 50 such sites for India is not an unexpected occurrence.